Solar winds hitting Earth may trigger an increase in lightning, a new study suggests.
The research finds an increase in the number of lightning strikes…Read More »
after the streams of plasma and particles known as solar wind arrive on Earth from the sun. Exactly why this correlation exists is unclear, but researchers say the interaction of solar particles might somehow prime the atmosphere to be more susceptible to lightning.
A pair of colliding neutron stars merges and begins to form a black hole in this NASA simulation. A …Read More »
neutron star is the compressed core left behind when a massive star explodes as a supernova. Neutron stars are incredibly dense, and pack about 1.5 times the mass of the sun into a ball just 12 miles (20 kilometers) across.
As the two neutron stars spiral toward each other, intense tides overwhelm and deform them, shattering the lesser star. The more massive star eventually accumulates too much mass to support it against gravity and collapses, giving birth to a new black hole. [Related: The 9 Biggest Unsolved Mysteries in Physics] Less «
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Wild Horses Roam Assateague National Seashore
Credit: Zach Egolf/Department of the Interior
Want to live on the edge? Visit a place recreated each day by ocean, wind and waves; a place so wild that horses roam free.
The "wild" horses on Assateague are actually feral animals, meaning they are descendants of domestic animals that have reverted to a wild state. Horses tough enough to survive the scorching heat, mosquitoes, stormy weather and poor quality food found on this remote, windswept barrier island have formed a unique wild horse society.
Local folklore describes the Assateague horses as survivors of a shipwreck off the Virginia coast. While this dramatic tale is popular, there are no records to confirm it. The most plausible explanation is that they are the descendants of horses that were brought to barrier islands like Assateague in the late 17th century by mainland owners to avoid fencing laws and taxation of livestock. [Related: Amazing Horse Photos]
Credit: Mark L. Riccio, Cornell University BRC CT Imaging Facility
A small, toothy fish, which researchers say resembles the terrifying creature from the movie "Alien," is turning out to be a big mystery for the scientists…Read More »
who study it.
Kryptoglanis shajii is a tiny, subterranean catfish with a number of defining skeletal features, including a bulging lower jaw similar to a bulldog's. The fish's strange, bony face has baffled researchers, who have been unable to classify the odd species.
There are many mysteries about the enigmatic ringed gas giant, but the curious mechanism behind Saturn’s ‘spokes’ is one of the more intriguing puzzles.…Read More »
And in new observations from NASA’s Cassini mission, these bright features seem to be persisting in Saturn’s darkened B ring.
Observed first during the Voyager spacecraft flybys in the early 1980′s, it was realized that these strange features, which flare out like spokes on a bicycle wheel, were not caused by gravitational interactions with the planet, moons or ring material. Further observations were made by Cassini in 2005 when it was confirmed the spokes are likely related to the gas giant’s global magnetic field.
Credit: NASA images courtesy of the LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response team.
Floodwaters appear black against a background of brilliant green in new satellite imagery of Namibia's Zambezi and Chobe rivers.
The flooding satellite…Read More »
images come from NASA's Aqua satellite, and were snapped on May 13 by Aqua's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS). The widespread flooding is typical for this time of year, according to NASA's Earth Observatory.
Credit: ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by the Expedition 39 crew.
Russia's Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world, but its beauty is skin-deep in a new astronaut photograph.
The lake image, taken by a crew member…Read More »
aboard the International Space Station, shows the southern half of the lake, which is mostly covered by ice. A melted portion catches the sun, creating a silvery, mirrorlike surface. This phenomenon is called sunglint, according to NASA's Earth Observatory.
Elephant seals have surprisingly high levels of naturally produced carbon monoxide — a noxious gas that is deadly at high concentrations — in their blood,…Read More »
a new study finds. In fact, the amount of carbon monoxide found in the blood of these large mammals is roughly the same as that in people who smoke 40 or more cigarettes each day, researchers say.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas that is naturally produced in small quantities in humans and animals. The scientists are unsure why elephant seals have such unexpectedly high levels of the gas in their blood, but the researchers suggest it could protect the animals from injury when they dive to extreme depths in search of food.
Lurking in the deep sea is a marine creature thought to be one of the world's largest sea anemones. But the animal, which has tentacles measuring more…Read More »
than 6 feet (2 meters) long, isn't an anemone but rather the first known organism in a new order of animals, according to new research.
In the four-year study, researchers created a "tree of life" for sea anemones, which are sometimes called "flowers of the sea" but are actually stationary meat-eating animals. In doing so, they examined the DNA of Boloceroides daphneae — discovered in 2006 in the deep Pacific Ocean — and found the creature stood out as not fitting on the sea anemone tree of life at all.
Antarctica is rising unusually quickly, revealing that hot rock in the Earth's mantle hundreds of miles below the icy continent is flowing much faster…Read More »
than expected, researchers say.
Antarctic ice is more than 2.6 miles (4.2 kilometers) thick on some parts of the continent, a reminder that glaciers that were miles thick once covered many parts of Earth's surface. When these ice sheets shrink, as is happening now in the world's polar regions due to climate change, the underlying Earth rebounds upward, like how mattresses typically decompress after people get off them.